CR-V Hybrid EX AWD CVT
latest evolution of Hondas
CR-V SUV hit the streets running at
the tail-end of 2018. The only thing
missing was a diesel engine; instead
now find new turboed 1.5-litre
petrol engines under their bonnets.
Also on the menu are 2WD and 4WD
plus a choice of either five or seven
seats. So far, so good...
BUT IT GETS BETTER because just joining the 2019 line-up is the CR-V
Hybrid with dual-power from a 143bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine working alongside
a 181bhp electric motor; the transmission is by Honda's eCVT automatic gearbox.
Although only available in five-seater guise (due to the electric motor's battery
pack installation) the Hybrid also offers buyers a choice of driven wheels with
both two- and four-wheel drive available.
With all carmakers now racing to hybridise or electrify their ranges, be it
with pure-electric, mild hybrids, plug-in petrol-electric hybrids, or self-charging
petrol-electric hybrids, cars with powertrains like the CR-V Hybrid will rapidly
become the norm confirming this, Honda is expecting half of all next
year's CR-V sales to be Hybrid versions.
self-charging petrol-electric hybrid is not a plug-in, which is good as that
means no messing about connecting up charging leads every night after you've
put the cat out. And not being pure-electric, there's none of that 'range anxiety'
is not a plug-in,
which is good as that
means no messing about
connecting up charging
leads every night after
youve put the cat out.
And not being pure-
electric, theres none of
that range anxiety
So, is it complicated to drive? Actually it's a piece of cake; in fact you don't
even have to waggle a gear lever around! Instead you just press a button on
the centre console to select Drive, Park or Reverse (fingertip lift a pull-up
switch). A Sport button serves up more 'oomph' and a more dynamic drive whenever
it suits; other push-buttons set the drive mode to fully electric (EV; for an
emission-free mile or so in clean-air urban zones) and the self-explanatory
Econ mode. Simples!
On the move the CR-V's hybrid system can mix and match from three driving modes
performing in petrol, electric or hybrid modes. Its Intelligent Multi-Mode
Drive 'brain' (AKA iMMD) determines the optimum active choice, automatically
switching between them as and when necessary.
Sometimes the petrol engine will drive the wheels directly (during hard acceleration
or during sustained higher-speed cruising), but for most of the time it powers
a generator which tops up the battery pack as well as powering the main electric
motor that for most of the time drives the wheels. When running in four-wheel
drive power is sent to the rear wheels mechanically via a prop shaft (some other
dual-power hybrids instead use a second rear-mounted electric motor to drive
the back wheels). The CR-V set-up works just fine.
You'll find paddles behind the steering wheel only they're not for changing
gear but for increasing the rate the CR-V slows when you lift off the accelerator
effectively it provides the equivalent of the engine braking you'd get
when you downshift in a regular combustion-engined car with a manual gearbox.
Regenerative braking is, of course, incorporated to convert braking energy to
electricity to boost the battery pack one of the main reasons electrified
vehicles are so much more efficient driving in town traffic.
Right, so you're behind the wheel: thumb the Power button then either press
the Drive button (or finger-lift the Reverse switch) and off you jolly well
go. You'll barely hear the four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine because at
this point it's only being used as a generator to supply electric power to the
181bhp/232lb ft electric motor turning the wheels.
way the system mixes and matches the petrol and electric, you won't feel a thing
really! and the CR-V's electric-fuelled progress is near-silent
(helped by extra sound deadening and active noise cancellation), with seamless
feel-good acceleration a core trait of the torquey electric motor plus there's
Sport mode for more spirited driving or even just for enthusiastic bursts of
the system mixes and
matches the petrol
and electric, you wont
feel a thing and the
progress is near-silent.
acceleration is a core
trait of the torquey
plus theres Sport mode
for more spirited
driving or even just
for enthusiastic bursts
The benchmark zero to 62mph is despatched in a brisk and linear 9.2 seconds
but at any speed the CR-V's unruffled hybrid performance makes driving particularly
relaxing. Top speed is a more than able 112mph and our overall test average
of 51.9mpg is certainly impressive for a biggish 4.6-metre SUV like this, even
beating the official Combined Cycle figure of 51.4mpg.
With it's a ruggedly raked looks and well-planted high-waisted stance the CR-V
looks every inch the contemporary SUV, equally at home in the metropolitan bubble
as roaming free on the range. With a good dose of tastefully done quality chrome
highlighting to the grille, glasshouse, along the door sills, and adorning the
tailgate, it's nicely eye-catching.
And it's good on the eye too when you swing open the driver's door. The upscale
leather seats are shapely, nicely bolstered and supportively comfy and come
with plenty of personal room in all directions around them; space-wise the CR-V
trumps many of its rivals. Three-stage heated front seats with power lumbar
can also be taken for granted as well as, for the driver, a heated steering
wheel rim and power seat adjustment plus a two-setting memory recall. You sit
high off the floor while still enjoying a fist of headroom and the driving position
is commanding with a wide view over the bonnet and front wing-tops.
The dash is attractively laid-out with a classy-looking touchscreen display
topped by hi-level air vents either side of a perfectly positioned hazard button.
Below the screen is the dual-zone climate control panel (with, Yes!, traditional
manual controls but press the Climate button and the settings can be viewed
and adjusted on-screen). Under that, within easy reach of the driver, sits a
lower console where, in non-hybrid versions, you'd find the gear lever. As mentioned
earlier, in the Hybrid model this is houses the pushbuttons for fingertip selection
of the various drive modes along with the electric parking brake (with auto
hold) and Sport mode switches.
enjoys a well-earned rep for top grade build quality and that's exactly what
you get in the CR-V; fit and finish is spot-on, the trim materials all look
good and the mix of finishing includes attractive honey-coloured wood veneers
on the fascia, doors and central tunnel console, that are used effectively and
which add to the cabin's feel-good vibe. The glasshouse is generous and combined
with a powered panoramic tilt 'n' slide glass sunroof that lets the light flood
in (a one-shot powered blackout sunblind is fitted for when you'd rather it
seven-inch touchscreen is perfectly sized with crisp hi-res imagery and graphics
and comes with a full infotainment and first-rate Garmin navigation system that's
a breeze to use (idiot-proof destination input and sharp 3D mapping) as well
as a reversing camera plus there's Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Internet
radio, Internet browsing and Aha app integration. A nine-speaker plus subwoofer
audio system comes with a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. There's also
the must-have traffic sign recognition with the posted speed limit displayed
alongside a digital road speed readout in the instrument panel.
ahead of the
driver is a digital
instrument panel thats
beautifully simple and
easy to read night
A head-up display
is icing on the cake and
keeps you brilliantly
informed as to your
actual speed, the official
limit, and where you
should be going
if youre being guided
by the well-disciplined
Directly ahead of the driver is a digital instrument panel that's beautifully
simple and easy to read night and day. A head-up display is icing on the cake
and keeps you brilliantly informed as to your actual speed, the official limit,
and where you should be going if you're being guided by the well-disciplined
Between you and all this well-presented driver information is a good-to-grip
three-spoke leather-wrapped wheel with multifunction controls for voice,
phone, trip and driving info, media, audio, safety assists, speed limiter, and
cruise. Sensibly, they are all of different shapes and profiles to minimise
distraction while your eyes are on the road, and they work perfectly.
In-cabin storage is well thought-out: most useful is the ingenious centre storage
box that incorporates a padded sliding armrest between the front seats
it holds a huge amount of stuff and can be reconfigured in a jiffy to provide
alternative storage solutions (it's also home to a HDMI and two USB ports plus
a 12-volt power socket).
Other storage solutions include a big glovebox, long bottle-holding front door
bins, deep dual-use siamesed cupholders and another open tray under the centre
stack with a second 12-volt socket. Another neat touch the drop-down
glasses case incorporates a wide-angle mirror so you can keep an eye on rear-seat
CR-V gives you all the equipment and 'tech' you'll really ever need we've
mentioned a lot of it in the appropriate sections but in addition useful stuff
such as keyless entry and locking with press button Start, rearview camera and
front and rear parking sensors, heated and powerfolding door mirrors (on demand
and automatically on locking and leaving), automatic dip/main switching, four
one-shot windows, ambient cabin lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and
auto lights and wipes.
features strongly, with essentials such as forward collision warning with auto
emergency braking, collision mitigation braking system, blind pot and cross
traffic monitor system, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure
mitigation, adaptive cruise control to take the strain out of long trips, intelligent
speed limiter, agile handling assist, vehicle and trailer stability assist,
traffic sign recognition, height-adjustable seatbelts, tyre pressure monitoring,
windscreen wiper de-icer, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, active
cornering lights, full suite of airbags, five-star EuroNCAP safety rating, and
Emergency Call system.
back doors open to a full 90-degrees making everything from loading to entering
and exiting super easy. The back cabin is lounge-like with plenty of stretch-room
and space to spare for your head, legs, knees and feet, all made better by three-stage
seat heating and backrests that adjust; even bulky six-footers will have plenty
of personal space.
561 litres in the boot
whereas the Hybrid
version musters a still
pretty vast 497 litres
to the window line.
Where both versions
score strongly is with
loadbays 1,064 litres;
load to the roof and
you can squeeze in 1,638
litres worth of cargo!
Fitting and removing child seats is a doddle thanks to the large door apertures.
A wide padded centre armrest with built-in cupholders, dedicated rear cabin
air vents, large pouches on the front seatbacks, bottle-holding door bins, excellent
views out unspoilt by privacy glass and the large glass sunroof add to the pleasure
of travelling 'in back'. Teens will appreciate the pair of USB charging sockets
while a low centre floor tunnel makes life easier for any passenger in the middle
when accommodating three side-by-side.
Don't be deceived by the flawless manner in which the power is delivered into
thinking the CR-V is only designed to be smooth for the cruise Honda's
hybrid SUV is also more than chuckable, with a sporty edge to its handling and
well-managed body control that keeps it on an even keel through corners and
threading along twisty B-roads. The moment extra grip or traction (either on
slippery surfaces or when cornering) up to 60% of the driving torque is diverted
to the rear wheels. The result is safe and secure handling at all times with
hefty vented discs on hand to guarantee braking is up to scratch.
given its high-riding (there's 200mm of ground clearance) and off-road-capable
looks, you suppose the CR-V can't ride comfortably on blacktop, you'd be wrong.
Very wrong. The Hybrid's ride quality even rolling on 18-inch alloys (very distinctive
black with polished faces) wrapped in 235/60 profile Dunlop rubber is very good
even on tacky tarmac (as good as its petrol-drinking stablemates) and, particularly
on long trips, it makes the Hybrid a soothing cruiser. Adding to the restful
ambiance is the impressively hushed cabin; both wind and road noise are well
subdued, and the hybrid drivetrain works quietly in the background often
you don't hear it all.
Non-hybrid CR-Vs offer 561 litres in the boot whereas the Hybrid version musters
a still pretty vast 497 litres when loaded to the window line. Where both versions
score strongly is with their backseat-down loadbays 1,064 litres; load
to the roof and you can squeeze in 1,638 litres' worth of cargo!
loadbay floor is seamless and flat with handsfree access via a powered tailgate
that's quick to open and close (alternately you can use the smart key-fob or
the fascia switch if that's more convenient). Loading is made even easier by
a wide tailgate opening and you can personalise the opening height. In fact
there's only one 'but' but unless you're a hardcore caravanner it isn't
a problem: whereas the 1.5-litre petrol-powered CR-V models will haul as much
as 2,000kg braked, the hybrid is rated at 750kg.
Honda's CR-V is the world's best-selling SUV. Refined and satisfying to drive
in town and out in the sticks, with a seamless hybrid powertrain, it's also
impressively frugal as in 50+mpg frugal. All-in-all, a likeably compelling
reason to join the swelling ranks of the hybridistas. ~ MotorBar
Honda CR-V 2.0 Hybrid EX AWD CVT
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 9.2 seconds | Test Average: 51.9mpg
Power: 143bhp petrol / 181bhp electric | Torque: 129lb ft / 232lb
ft | CO2: 126g/km